THE ABSENT

THE ABSENT
THE ABSENT - out now!

CRIPPLED HEARTS

CRIPPLED HEARTS
Out Now - For sale on Amazon and other onlne book sellers

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

SOLIDARITY WITH THE FLESH EATING MOSAIC AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
Out Now

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju

THE RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT NINNY AND OTHER POEMS by Raj Dronamraju
My first book of poetry available through Amazon and other online booksellers www.rajbooks.com

Sunday, April 10, 2016

MERLE HAGGARD RIP


I really liked Merle Haggard’s music. I have been a fan of his since I sought out his and George Jones’s records after hearing versions of their songs on SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO and ALMOST BLUE. His early records are best because they featured more of his original songwriting. Of all the enjoyable parts of his music, I think he may be the best country music songwriter in history combining lyrical voice character studies (which people mistook as his own right wing opinions), hard luck stories, the setting of the country music archetype – drinking and bad women, the language of exaggerated blue collar misery of a personal nature, a surprising amount of sensitivity in his later songs about relationships. He also had made good choices in the songs by other writers he chose to cover. Lyrically, he was a clever wordsmith. “I threw away the rose and kept the thorn” a line that turned up in other artist’s songwriting. Musically, he wrote more like someone from the British Invasion short punchy songs verse-chorus – Bakersfield rockabilly style – less saccharine pedal steel.

More importantly, his hard early years – son of Okie dust bowl migrants to Tulare County, they lived in a converted railway car, his father died when he was nine, he served time in juvenile hall for car theft then later served two years in prison for a botched robbery attempt….Hard early years gave his music character and experience that modern country music lacks. I have already seen a number of obituaries make this point but modern country music is worthless and soulless. Will we ever see performers like Merle Haggard and George Jones again? RIP

A funny Haggard story I read – When the Hag first met Johnny Cash, he told him this isn’t the first time we met, Johnny. We also met at your San Quentin concert. Cash told him he didn’t remember him on the bill that day or playing with him. Haggard said no he was in the audience as he was a prisoner at San Quentin at the time.

My Favorite Merle Haggard songs (an abbreviated list)

I Take A Lot of Pride In What I Am
Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
Loneliness Is Eating Me Alive
I Threw Away The Rose
I’ll Be A Hero (When I Strike)
Things Aren’t Funny Anymore
The Emptiest Arms In The World
Misery and Gin
Here In Frisco
Mama Tried






Monday, April 4, 2016

WHO'S THE BIGGER LIAR? HILLARY CLINTON OF COURSE!


Every word out of Hillary Clinton's mouth is a lie. Here's a list of all the lies she has told about Bernie Sanders in this campaign.

Misrepresented Sanders’ vote on the 2000 CFMA

Misrepresented Sanders’ vote on the 2007 Immigration Reform bill

Misrepresented Sanders’ vote on the 2008 Auto Bailout

Misrepresented Sanders’ 2006 stance on indefinite detention regarding undocumented migrants

Used the Import/Export Bank debate to push the narrative that Sanders and the Koch brothers had a close tie and were helping each other.

Suggested dishonestly that Sanders lied about his civil rights record.

Pushed the narrative that Sanders was a misogynist over his “Shouting” comment on gun control

Pushed the narrative that Sanders was a racist over his “Urban” comment on gun control

Pushed the narrative that Sanders’ campaign was running negative advertisements attacking Clinton, referencing this ad: youtube /watch? v=z4kcH42oxYw

Labeled Sanders a “one issue candidate” over his “one issue” focus on corruption via campaign finance, revolving door employment, and lobbying

Disingenuously claimed that Sanders has also “accepted money from Wall Street” through the DCCC, and that he’s therefore no different than Clinton on accepting major donations from the financial sector

Pushed Univision’s out-of-context narrative of depicting Sanders as someone who wholly supported and praised Fidel Castro

Used scare tactics to dissuade voters away from Sanders’ single-payer healthcare proposal by disingenuously stating that Sanders would get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc.

“Where was Sanders when I was fighting for Healthcare?!” when he was involved in the efforts on multiple levels, as was acknowledged by Clinton at the time and even appeared with her in public.

Compared Sanders to communist dictators such as Hugo Chavez

Suggested Sanders is anti-Israel and a poor Jew because he has criticized Israel’s human rights abuses

Suggested Sanders was a godless atheist at a Methodist fundraising event and thus made an untrustworthy candidate

Spread the rumor that Sanders’ campaign was busing in out-of-state voters to cheat a win in Iowa

Misrepresented Sanders’ intentions in pushing someone to challenge Obama in the ’12 primaries



Sunday, April 3, 2016

THE HOOPLE BY MOTT THE HOOPLE


Recently was the 42nd anniversary of Mott the Hoople's last record THE HOOPLE.

It's not as good a record as the one before it MOTT their best record a true masterpiece of songwriting but is very consistent and I'd almost use the word groovy (not a word I would associate normally with Hoople's bar band/singer songwriter/futuristic glam/pre punk combination).  I just think they are a great band.

Ian Hunter was now in total control as Mick Ralphs had left (to join Bad Company???!!! can't think of a former member of a band I liked as much who went on to such a sh*tty next band ) but that's fine as Hunter is in fine form as a singer and as a songwriter and as a musician(All the good MTH songs in the past were written by him anyway with the exception of All The Young Dudes). I consider this is his first solo album in a way.

Standout musical moments….Great rockers - The Golden Age of Rock n' Roll, Crash Street Kidds, Roll Away the Stone and moving ballads - Trudi's Song, Through the Looking Glass plus the requisite glam rock weirdness -Marionette....Also the re-issue adds two great non lp singles Foxy Foxy and (Do You Remember) The Saturday Gigs?



A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT DAREDEVIL SEASON TWO


First off, Daredevil Season Two is paced a lot better than Season One without the long boring stretches of conversation and other padding. I like this version of The Punisher (which is based on the PunisherMax adult comic series of the 2000's - Some scenes are directly taken as is how Jon Bernthal plays him) more Death Wish than the classic heroic square jawed Punisher of the 70's and 80's and also of the last Punisher film - Ray Stevenson also excellent in the role. The first four episodes are full of great moments - The Punisher walking into a hospital carrying a huge gun, The Punisher beating a kiddie porn seller to death with a baseball bat, Daredevil's fight in the hall and the stairwell and the first floor with a motorcycle gang which tops the first season's hallway fight, the long conversations between DD and the Punisher on the rooftop and the graveyard, Matt finally getting close to Karen Page with the sound of raindrops and the sense of touch amplified by his special ability - very sexy,....Of all the Easter Eggs, my favorite little in joke and hopefully one that might lead to something in a future season is when Melvin Potts picks up the saw blades while arguing with Matt - In the comics he becomes the saw using supervillain Gladiator, love to see that character in the TV show.


However, the Punisher storyline is significantly better than the Elektra storyline. When Frank Castle takes on a large number of men in a jail fight, well that is one of the most visually impressive fight sequences I have ever seen. I liked Elodie Yung as Elektra, ethnically she fits this exotic role a lot better than Jennifer Garner but I did not like the change in her origin (as a result she is a much less sympathetic and likable character) and wasn’t excited about her part of the story except for the great fight scenes. The elephant in the room going forward is Bullseye who in the comics killed not only Elektra but Karen Page too. He’s a must for the third season although not sure how he figures into Elektra’s story now they’ve so altered the events of her life.



TWO RECORDS - EVERYTHING YOU'VE COME TO EXPECT BY THE LAST SHADOW PUPPETS AND GOOD GRIEF BY LUCIUS


The 2nd album by The Last Shadow Puppets (the collaboration between Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane) feels like a slightly less immediate and quieter version of their debut THE AGE OF THE UNDERSTATEMENT. In the eight years since UNDERSTATEMENT, Kane has kind of come into his own as a successful solo artist while Turner has kept plugging away with Arctic Monkeys. This is certainly a beautifully produced record with swooping strings and pitch perfect vocals in harmony or solo (mostly by Turner). A little bit of a nod in the direction of Brian WIlson besides the regular 60's-70's influenced chamber pop especially on the title track which is my favorite song after two listens. I hope we don't have to wait so long for the next Puppets record. IMO it's better than the last couple Arctic Monkeys records.


Underneath the pretty vocals and the various beats and instrumental flourishes on this second album by the musical duo Lucius(I especially like sound of the synths here) is some really great songwriting, nifty wordplay lyrics, big choruses, slow burning melodies that reveal themselves gradually like a burlesque dancer disrobing....I imagine most artists would kill for a tune as good as "My Heart Got Caught On Your Sleeve"


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE 28TH ANNIVERSARY OF VIVA HATE BY MORRISSEY


It's The 28th anniversary of Morrissey’s first solo album VIVA HATE.   

Not his best solo record but an excellent start to his career with no bad songs on it.  I remember it came out less than a year after The Smiths last album and break-up and immediately after that the music magazines were all saying Moz would be nothing without Johnny Marr who they said had a bright future ahead of him.  This was not the last time they would write premature eulogies for Moz’s career.

I also remember when this record came out and being happy because it was actually pretty good.  Producer/co-songwriter Stephen Street was a very good writing partner and sympathetic arranger for Moz framing his voice in a number of different situations.  Aside from the hits Suedehead and Everyday Is Like Sunday, I especially like voice and strings Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together, the epic Moz freakout Late Night, Maudlin Street (which introduced me to poet Elizabeth Smart whose verse Moz “borrows”), Booming Vini Reilly guitar showcase Alsatian Cousin and the weird little fragment Little Man, What Now?.  I can even ignore the casual racism of Bengali in Platforms (great tune nonetheless).  

However, my favorite tune and one of Moz’s greatest solo songs, for sure in my top five, is The Ordinary Boys.  Beautiful mournful tune with a brilliant piano part as an inspired Morrissey, his raw nerve pure expression voice here exactly tuned into what he wants to say, describes in painstaking detail the high school losers he grew up with.


Ordinary boys, happy knowing nothing
happy being no one, but themselves
Ordinary girls, supermarket clothes
who think it's very clever to be cruel to you
for you were so different
you stood all alone
and you knew
that it had to be so
avoiding ordinary boys
happy going nowhere, just around here
in their rattling cars
and ordinary girls
never seeing further
than the cold, small streets
that trap them
but you were so different
you had to say no
when those empty fools
tried to change you, and claim you
for the lair of their ordinary world
where they feel so lucky
so lucky, so lucky
with their lives laid out before them
they're so lucky, so lucky
so lucky, so lucky


Monday, March 14, 2016

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE POETRY OF OCTAVIO PAZ


The last week or so been I have been working my way through a collection of the poetry of Octavio Paz.  I have liked the individual Paz poems I have come across occasionally (years ago had an instructor in college that was really really into his work) but have never sat down and read a bunch of his poems together at one time.

Two things I like about his poetry and one thing I don’t like….

1.) His poetry in terms of language seems well thought out but the language he uses is always simple but never repetitive.  He can move feeling that way and that’s a hard thing with such modest verbiage 2.) I like how he breaks up his stanzas.  That may be taken for granted, a given for the poet but I am often reading garbage modern poetry where a guy writes a line then two spaces then one word then a space then three lines of a run-on sentence.  That’s not a poetic/literary device, that’s just gimmickry.

What I don’t like abut Paz is I don’t think he has a lot to say.  I think he has visions in his mind of reliving encounters with other people, women etc.  and he compare all those to the usual (nature, space, emotion, geography, weather)but there’s no universality to it….At least none a word Marxist like myself can detect.

Paz is basically like a more calm, less grand Whitman.  He is not as anywhere near as explosive or powerful as Walt W. but sees some connections between himself and the object of his desires, between the world and love/lust/desire.

Many consider SUNSTONE his best poem….It really reminds me of Whitman, only more dreamy than thunderous.  http://www.mysterium.com/sunstone.html







US WAR CRIMES IN SOMALIA AND US INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICA



The US using a combination of drones and airstrikes kills 150 people they’ve categorized as militants in Somalia which brings up a few points.

1.) This sounds like an act of war.  Where is the congressional declaration of war on Somalia?

2.) These 150 casualties are described as ”terrorists”.   I don’t think it is out of the question to ask for proof.  In both Vietnam and Afghanistan, it is been proven that the US tagged anyone, women, children, basically anyone they killed as enemy combatants

3.) It is reported that the drone and airstrikes were meant to kill – no prisoners.  That sounds like a war crime to me.  The Nazis were prosecuted for similar offenses

4.) US behavior in Somalia has been disgusting.  Basically, they’ve stopped the country which is  in a state of anarchy from having an Islamic government which might not be everyone’s cup of tea but is the largest, most well organized group in the country and the ones most likely to be able to form a government.  At the same time, the US has funded and armed warlords, criminals, who extort the populace and commit rape and murder.

5.) Africa or more specifically African resources and mineral deposits are what the US, competing with China and Russia, are after.  Expect more incursions like this (The US is currently active in at least 27 other African countries in some fashion) in the future under the facade of democracy and fighting terrorism.

6.) For every step forward President Obama takes (opening up relations with Cuba, trying to close Guantanamo Bay, the Iran deal) he takes two steps back as those behind empire change their focus to resources they need to keep the empire alive and cut their losses in other places.  It will be exactly the same whether it be Hillary Clinton as the next president or Cruz/Rubio/Kasich. 






     

HOUSE OF CARDS SEASON FOUR


Season Four was better than Season Three which was kind of transitional not so much action, more storyline build-up (did love Lars Mikkelsen as a Putin type Russian president. Glad he is in the new season too). Of course still more holes in the plot than Swiss cheese but a lot more happening, major developments, this season. Kevin Spacey is as usual excellent.

What I especially liked about this season is how it addressed issues that have come up recently in real life. I have felt in the last three seasons The HOC world was a parallel universe. But the handling of phone records and the NSA was excellent and made a very good argument about why it's wrong. You may like or trust Obama but what happens when a sociopath like Frank Underwood becomes president and gets access to that kind of power? The issue of gun control (SPOILER as filtered through an assassination attempt) was interesting as well especially since it was merely another way for the Underwoods to manipulate the public and other politicians. Also like the oily, narcissistic Republican candidate - He reminds me of a cross between Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Obama.

The final episode of the season was chilling….President Underwood starting a war to wag the dog – distract from the giant scandals of the first three seasons now finally exposed by newsman Tom Hammerschmidt….And that last line “We make the terror” Like Walter White “I am the danger”. This season was great but next season should be even more interesting and eventful. Wish we didn’t have to wait another year for it to come on TV.






Sunday, February 28, 2016

THE THREE MISTAKES BERNIE SANDERS MADE


While I guess a miracle is still possible, it certainly seems like Bernie Sanders is on his way to be overwhelmed in delegate totals within the next two week when a lot states have primaries and caucuses. According to Real Clear Politics, Sanders is ahead or even in a couple states (Minnesota, Massachusetts, Vermont of course) but not really anywhere else.

Looking back, I think there were three mistakes Sanders made. It might have been closer had he done or not done these things.

1.) Sanders as part of his democratic socialism platform should have embraced anti-imperialism and cuts to the defense department budget. He did pivot in this direction slightly the last couple debates but it was too late then. This would have been a real contrast between him and Hillary Clinton and I think he would have gotten even more votes had he done this perhaps from some independents. I would have supported him had he done this as I liked many of his other positions. In general, he should have made a bigger contrast between him and Hillary’s neoliberal neo con foreign policy and her domestic incrementalism.

2.) Sanders is obviously a decent guy, perhaps too decent. His decision to not attack Clinton was not mutual. The Clintons ran their usual scorched earth sleazy war room campaign of lies (Things like attacking Sanders civil rights history in the 60’s for example). Sanders should have pointed out just from a practical viewpoint that the number of scandals she has been involved in will be used against her in the general election. His comment “sick and tired of your damn e-mails” was also a mistake. I believe Hillary did break the law and there’s a chance she could be indicted after she clinches the nomination. It’s not negative campaigning; it’s pointing out two things 1.) The Clintons penchant for criminal behavior 2.) The fact Hillary is a neo-liberal(which is a very different animal) not a progressive and attempts to fool people into thinking she is a progressive.

3.) Why oh why, did he run as a Democrat? As he pointed out in the last debate, he is the longest serving independent ever in the US Congress. Sanders should have run third party and talked more about how the system is broken as a part of income inequality and the things that should be done to fix it besides removing big money (which is important but not the only thing). The Democrat party is even more rotten and corrupt than the Republican Party when it comes to internal rules set up to prevent an insurgency campaign(like his campaign). Sanders should have run against both parties.


Saturday, February 20, 2016

THE SUPERDELEGATES SCAM


The role of the superdelegates in the Democratic presidential primaries is very shady and that's an understatement.

The Republican party to its credit doesn't allow delegates whether elected or appointed to vote other than the will of the primary or caucus voter in the state they represent. The Democrats , on the other hand, after the 1972 and 1976 elections wherein candidates won whom the establishment didn't like (George McGovern and Jimmy Carter) instituted a system wherein roughly one in six delegates are the so-called superdelegates and they don't have to vote the will of the Democratic primary/caucus voter. That's not democracy!
As Nate Silver has pointed out, it is conceivable that Bernie Sanders could win 58% of the popular vote and still not be the Dem nominee due to superdelegates. In 2008, the superdelegates were the ones who dragged out the process. Obama could have been the nominee a month or two earlier if not for them.

I have no favorite here. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I feel the two parties are equally corrupt and the only hope for America's future and the things it must do to survive is a multi- party system with a uniform law on ballot access for all candidates in all 50 states, a constitutional amendment on how elections are funded including public financing of campaigns and bans on outside special interest money, a national primary and limited election cycle, and the replacement of the electoral college with one person one vote.

If Sanders is cheated out of the nomination after winning a majority of popular votes, Sanders voters should just stay home this fall. Let a Republican win then once everything goes to hell there can be real reform including booting out all the Clintonian neo-liberals from what should be a progressive political party.

  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

THE LIGHTNING AND THE SUN BY SAVITRI DEVI


Savitri Devi's life would make a great film. I’m surprised Hollywood hasn’t tried yet. Perhaps the history in it is too weird and too far outside the bland black and wife narratives they normally dish out. Devi was born in France of a Greek/Italian father and a British mother. She earned a PhD in philosophy and became enamored of Hinduism while trying to find out the origins of the mysterious Aryans which she theorized were mystical (a line of thinking I’ve heard referred to as Aryan Cosmology part of supernatural Esoteric Hitlerism). She travelled all over the Middle East and India. Eventually, she married an Indian so she could stay in India. She also took an Indian name (Her real name was Maximiani Julia Portas). Somehow, her studies of Aryans and her travels got her very interested in Nazism and she was a fanatical supporter of Hitler even going so far as to act as an axis spy and pass information she heard from British officers in India to Japanese contacts. After World War II was over, she went to Germany and attempted to help get the Nazi party going again. For this, she spent a year in jail. She was also in the vanguard of the animal rights movement writing much about it and remained a lifelong vegetarian. Her book THE IMPEACHMENT OF MAN proposes the death penalty for people who mistreat animals and end to circuses and animal experimentation.

Devi also wrote a number of other books of which THE LIGHTNING AND THE SUN is the most famous. Here she takes Oswald Spengler’s cyclical theory of life and death of civilization further arguing its non-linear construction. Her arguments are that modern society is hopelessly corrupt, materialistic, and too far removed from traditional values and the soul is more important than intellect – who is a person, not what they believe or think. She makes an interesting argument about literacy having made people dumber not smarter since all they do is choose to read tawdry paperbacks, write love letters, and accrue debt which they write checks for. The same argument could be applied to the Internet today, Facebook and Twitter included. However, that is where the similarity with Spengler ends.



Basically, the above is the setting for Devi’s theories of history which is that there are three categories of great men. She writes one chapter on each with an example. 1.) Men in Time who act as agents of destruction but who are ultimately selfish and have no greater goals. Her example is Genghis Khan . 2.) Men Above Time who are spiritual and otherworldly and don’t get too involved in the material world. Her example is the pharaoh Akhnaton who tried to make religion less important in ancient Egypt and tried to champion science (including early theories about the Solar System) 3.) Men Against Time who go against that which is the status quo rebelling against that which holds them down leading a revolution that will create a movement or a new way of thinking. This differs from the Men in Time who doesn’t care about posterity and acts only for himself. Her example of a Man Against time is Adolph Hitler and this is where she goes completely bonkers.

She views Hitler as a figure with almost supernatural powers. She basically sees him as the reincarnation of Vishnu sent here to cleanse the world. Like the more forlorn and even more mystical Julius Evola, she also believes in the Hindu scenario of Kali Yuga the last of the four seasons of life when everything becomes chaos. Her love for Hitler is spiritual and it is also passionate. Late in life Devi even wrote a book of love poems to Hitler

Rounding this out is the belief in two forces of history – lightning (meaning destruction) and sun (meaning enlightenment and evolution of the soul). She sees Genghis Kahn as lightning and Akhnaton as sun but she sees Hitler as both – destruction and a new way of thinking.

I must admit I am enjoying reading this. She writes really intensely – she is really into this! The BS mysticism and the anti-Semitism is kept to a minimum (although both are present) and she provides examples for everything she says. Also parts of these books are so nutty and so firm in its faith in its own nutty ideas that it cannot be denied. She writes clearly with a lot of exclamation marks.

Devi remained in India (where she lived with a pet king cobra) until the 1960’s when she came to the US and joined the American Nazi movement becoming friends with George Lincoln Rockwell(the Nazi leader played by Marlon Brando in Roots II). She later travelled the world and died in 1982.

I’d also like to say I have wanted to read this book for a couple decades but could never find it in a public library in the US and refused to pay money to the white supremacists websites who reprinted it. So, good for the Internet for acting as a library for obscure texts such as these.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT TODAY'S REPUBLICAN DEBATE


Today’s Republican Debate was complete chaos.  Entertaining but completely unserious.  The moderator comment “Do I have to turn this car around?” was very telling.  On the level of Honey Boo Boo as far as entertainment goes.  A few thoughts….

1.) Who let that audience in?  They booed such traditional Republican concerns as illegal immigration and abortion.  They clearly were an establishment audience.  Their booing and cheering does not match at all any of the polling as far as who and what they supported.  It was a disgrace for the establishment to hijack the debate in this way.

2.) What kind of world do we live in where Donald Trump is the voice of foreign policy sanity?  Not fighting two wars at once in Syria, the Iraq War was a mistake, talk to Russia, Bush didn’t keep America safe.  It’s just common sense.  I almost didn’t miss Rand Paul

3.) Trump also praised the non-abortions services offered by Planned Parenthood – very weird to hear in a Republican Debate.

4.) Not a good night for Marco Rubio despite what the pundits say.  He strikes me as an inconsequential twerp who is slow on his feet and wrong on everything.  Two examples tonight – 1.)Said that no Supreme Court justice has been confirmed in an election year in 80 years.  What about Anthony Kennedy in 1988? 2.) Attacked Ted Cruz for not speaking Spanish prompting Cruz to speak Spanish showing yes he does speak Spanish.  Also Rubio’s answers on taxes and immigration show him trying to have it both ways, trying to sound like a conservative and Bernie Sanders at the same time.

5.) Jeb Bush threw a lot of punches at Trump but the only one that landed was the attack on corporate bankruptcies.  However, considering Bush was Governor of Florida the state where bankruptcy is a cottage industry, it’s not good line of attack for him.

6.) Cruz showed the best way to attack Trump is as an insincere guy who not long ago was very liberal.  Conservatives love litmus test discussions like that and if Cruz is going to win he needs to contrast his record with Trump’s.

7.) John Kasich did a clever thing in not taking the bait and attacking Jeb Bush back.  He was also shrewd to try and draw democratic support by referencing his mailman dad and blue collar neighborhood. Not sure how far playing the moderate will take him in 2016.  He’s actually not a moderate at all when one looks at his record as Governor of Ohio on issues such as abortion and education.

8.) The quote Ben Carson attributed to Stalin in his closing comments is false.  See Snopes.  


      

Friday, February 12, 2016

TWO RECORDS - NIGHT THOUGHTS BY SUEDE AND K 2.0 BY KULA SHAKER


Compared to the first reunion record BLOODSPORTS of a couple years ago, Suede's new release NIGHT THOUGHTS is a bit better. I liked that record too but the songs were a lot simpler, THOUGHTS is a much bigger record, swirling dense arrangements, longer slower songs dominate over the crunchy T-Rex type rockers. This sounds like a record made by middle aged men who haven't lost their love of music nor their love of their influences nor their ability to rock out. A strong record by the most glam influenced of the 90's Brit Pop bands in the wake of Bowie's passing is an occasion for happiness. They've long been a favorite band of mine. Brett Anderson's voice has not aged a day, he hits some amazing notes!


The first two Kula Shaker records from the 90's Britpop era K and PEASANTS PIGS AND ASTRONAUTS are an intoxicating miss of 60's psychedelia, trad rock type guitars, and most interestingly Indian musical touches both in the music with sitars, tablas etc. and in the lyrics which feature references to Hinduism. After that Kula broke up but reunited in the 2000's. The third and fourth records STRANGEFOLK and PILGRIM'S PROGRESS are much more scaled down pastoral and quiet and not much in the way of Indian affectations although still not bad as far as the tunes go. However, K 2.0 gets back to the bigger louder sound of the 90's and throws in a number of Indian touches to boot. This feels like a third album immediately following the 90's records. Really nice when a band gets back to their original sound and makes a good record.


RIDE THE TIGER: A SURVIVAL MANUAL FOR THE ARISTOCRATS OF THE SOUL BY JULIUS EVOLA


Reading RIDE THE TIGER: A SURVIVAL MANUAL FOR THE ARISTOCRATS OF THE SOUL by Julius Evola.  This is the second book I’ve read by the Italian writer Evola (REVOLT AGAINST THE MODERN WORLD was the other – Not as complex or laid out as fully as TIGER) whom I was originally turned onto by comparisons I’ve read between he and Oswald Spengler who is to me a prophet and perhaps my favorite historian and philosopher as his work has a foot in both camps.  Evola is more on the philosophical side.  Whereas Spengler’s work is broader talking about a non-linear approach to history and comparing the cycles of a civilization to the four seasons or the life cycles of a human being, Evola’s focus is a lot more narrow.  Like Spengler, he theorizes Western civilization is in its winter, its death throes (still true today, it’s not necessarily a quick process, Rome as an example).  However, he has his own peculiar way of describing this.  Evola refers to this period as  “Kali Yuga” which in old Hindu writing was considered the final of four stages of the world wherein vice and vicissitude and corruption rules the day and leads to the downfall of man.  Unlike Spengler who is years ahead of his time talking about military overexpansion and income inequality as well as a vulgar culture as indicators of culture’s downfall, Evola prioritizes the culture issue. 

What I dislike about that approach is it leads to a sense of triviality.  I do agree about the role of culture but not as a priority.  The other factors Spengler brings up are much more important.  Culture is a result as much as an indicator.  Also Evola is an occultist with a lot of silly beliefs.  He was highly critical of Alistair Crowley in their time but they share similar thought processes.  He seems to dislike atheists very much (He spends a lot of time critiquing Neitzsche’s “God Is dead” which he interprets as religion is dead).  He subscribes to the theory that you can’t have morality without faith in a higher power which is rubbish. He also disliked immigration (which is why many fascists and white supremacists unfortunately like his writing) and viewed it as a negative.  I have the opposite view on this as I think controlled immigration, nothing wrong with countries selecting who they want to let in, adds new blood to a society especially one that is made up of immigrants like the US and Australia.  He also misses the link Spengler made between increased immigration and imperialism/conquest – the latter increases the former especially from the nations one’s country has conquered.  He also has a strange hang-up with bisexuals whom he views as far worse than monosexuals because they are attracted to more than one sex.  He basically views them as dangerous culture destroyers.

On the flip side, I like the way he writes.  He’s pretty clear and doesn’t’ weigh down the arguments he is making with too many digressions or grandiose language.  Like Spengler, there is sort of a pre-beat poetry to his language, short sentences and direct.   Bad, unclear, florid writing has ruined many a philosopher for me.  I do agree than men are under fire in Western culture in a lot of ways (not patriarchy but what maleness is and how it presents itself) and that’s not a good thing.  I also agree that garbage culture produces garbage art although Spengler makes this argument better in DECLINE OF THE WEST because he ties it to a lot of other causes in the proper order.

I also agree with the idea that the breakdown of the family in a society that does not replace it with something to fill the void like service to the state is a society where people will lose all connection with life, each other etc.  It truly is the end of the civilization.  Evola did not foresee smartphones and the internet but it could easily fit into what he is saying.  One ceases to “belong” to the world as he describes it.

I personally agree with both Spengler and Evola that we are in the process of witnessing the death throes of Western Civilization and within the next 100 years the West will topple - materialism, imperialism, immorality, dumbing down/ lack of intellect, overreliance on technology will all be contributing factors.  The title of the book references Evola’s solution for this problem which is to ride out the chaos like holding onto a tiger’s back while it is running so it can’t turn around and maul you.  At the end, this turns into a self-help book although Evola takes him time getting there.  He also doesn’t give much advice how to do this despite the book’s title other than to embrace spirituality and remain distant from the material world.  The latter I agree with very much.




             

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

VOTE CLUMP!


Let’s review where Hillary Clinton stands after this weeks’ campaign activity including a one on one debate with Bernie Sanders.

She is AGAINST single payer health care, “Medicare for all”.

She is AGAINST a no cost college tuition plan.



She is AGAINST restating Glass-Steagall which limited the way commercial banks could gamble with their depositors’ money. Its repeal in 1999 ultimately led to the 2008 recession.

She is FOR the death penalty.

She is FOR a continued ramping up of hostile rhetoric towards Russia.

She is FOR bombing both Assad and ISIS, an idiotic plan and a smokescreen for true imperialist intent.

She is FOR continued saber rattling towards Iran despite a deal in place which is currently working for all sides.

She is FOR continued US slavish devotion to Israel.

I think this is the real Hillary and I’ve got an idea how she can make this work for her and be president.

With Republicans quickly dropping out of the race, there is a lot more room on the Republican debate stage. Maybe not on social issues (although Hillary supported the Defense of Marriage act and the Freedom of Religion act among other odious legislation) but on everything else Hillary would be more comfortable there.

Hillary should run as a Republican. I can see it now running with her good friend The Donald – Hillary/Trump or Trump/Hillary 2016. I’ve even got a slogan prepared for them “When the truth and past political positions don’t matter. Vote Clump!” (ClintonTrump)





ANATOMY OF A SMEAR, A SHORT HISTORY OF THE BERNIE BROS SLANDER


"The Bernie Bros" is a phony narrative created by the Clinton propaganda machine....When I've run into people in forums and the like who fit this description, simple back and forth for a couple of minutes have revealed them to be either a.) Paid Hillbot shills or b.) Republican trolls (most likely a).

But the truth is i'ts deja vu all over again....The fictional Bernie Bros narrative of 2016 has its roots in the fictional Obama Boys narrative of 2008 (as does a lot of the Clinton dirty tricks currently being waged against Bernie Sanders, Gloria Steinem made ridiculous sexist comments about Obama too). The origin of the Bernie Bros defamation is the Blue Nation Review website owned and operated by David Brock. Brock started his career as a right wing character assassin writing a book attacking Anita Hill after she accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment then he had some kind of epiphany (perhaps involving something green with a lot of zeroes) and became a neo liberal character assassin attacking the victims of Bill Clinton sexual assault. He is the kind of amoral sleazy scum the Clintons associate with and nurture, the kind who would sell his own sister to the highest bidder, but the Clintons were born in the gutter, they live there.

More reading on this topic

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/8/1481627/-WOW-Before-the-sexist-Bernie-Bro-Clinton-supporters-created-the-sexist-Obama-boy-No-seriously

Monday, February 8, 2016

BOB MOULD: AN APPRECIATION


One of the best if not the best concert(s) I have ever seen was Husker Du at the University of Oregon in early 1985. They were the loudest band I have ever experienced but I was also amazed by how easy it was to discern their strong 1960’s type melodies through the volume.

Husker Du is my favorite American band of the 1980’s and my second favorite American band of all time. After the Huskers broke up, both Bob Mould and Grant Hart put out solo records. However Hart’s output over the years while excellent in places has not been very prolific. Mould, on the other hand, now has quite a good sized discography of mostly superb quality with a new record PATCH THE SKY coming out next month.

Mould on his own - Songwriting shows a strong Richard Thompson influence but without the British folkie atmosphere. He also delves into Neil Young territory in the hard and soft alternating sounds. His two favorite topics are the painful end of relationships and general doom and gloom in the world at large. His voice is best described as an alternately mournful and raging bellow.

Mould’s first solo album WORKBOOK was a fairly quite record, almost chamber pop a lot of the time recorded with Mould on guitar and keyboards plus a rhythm section and a cellist(?!). Powerful songwriting here – Poison Years, Sinner and Their Remembrances, Lonely Afternoon, Heartbreak a Stranger. A few loud guitar moments especially on the closer Whichever Way the Wind Blows.

His second album BLACK SHEETS OF RAIN was the polar opposite. A loud power trio record with all kinds of feedback laden guitar. The slow songs are dirgy and heavy, the fast songs are noise pop like the Huskers or a Mould influence The Buzzcocks. Not a bad song here.

Next Mould formed the band Sugar which made two records and an ep. The first record COPPER BLUE is a masterpiece. It feels more alive than his first two solo albums and every song is brilliant and amazingly poppy (all written and sung by Mould). Also his guitar work is superb. I did not care too much for the second Sugar album wherein he seemed to be out of inspiration.

Mould then broke up Sugar and made two solo records of varying quality. BOB MOULD was largely Mould by himself in the studio. It feels a bit stuffy and the songs are competent but overall unremarkable. THE LAST DOG AND PONY SHOW was a little better with more guitar and more diverse songwriting.


After that, Mould took a few years off and got interested in electronic club music. The result was MODULATE, just a brilliant record wherein Mould turns up the alienation and replaces the guitars for the most part with electronics and tape loops and alters his voice with a vocoder. Very unexpected and one of my favorite albums of the 2000’s.

BODY OF SONG brought back the guitars and melded them with leftover electronic tunes from MODULATE. Nice record in places, I like it.

DISTRICT LINE and LIFE AND TIMES are semi-acoustic song collections. Consistent and played with feeling, LINE is slightly better on a song per song basis but LIFE contains one of Mould’s best kiss-off songs I’m Sorry Baby But You Can’t Stand In My Light Anymore.

Next came SILVER AGE which brings back the guitars with a vengeance. I think his songwriting is a bit fiercer and less whiny here. Steam of Hercules is one of his heaviest unrelenting songs of all time.

His last record BEAUTY AND RUIN was even better. Fast powerful and clean. Every song catchy and sharp. His best record since MODULATE and one of the best records of this decade.

Looking forward to PATCH THE SKY.





BILL CLINTON'S LONG HISTORY OF RAPE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND INDECENT EXPOSURE ALLEGATIONS


Re: Bill Clinton's hysterical tirade against Bernie Sanders today, Is Bill Clinton trying to deliberately ensure supporters of Sanders will never ever support Shitlary under any circumstance? Slick Willie's comments - full of lies and bitterness, the worst being that Sanders is "sexist" The gall of that renders one speechless. Bill Clinton is a serial rapist and abuser of women!

In the wake of Bill Cosby and the war on women and with Hillary Clinton running for president I am wondering if America can finally have a discussion about the many allegations (almost as many maybe more than Cosby) of sexual assault leveled against Bill Clinton. Here's a short list

Juanita Broaddrick (AR)- rape
Eileen Wellstone (Oxford) - rape
Elizabeth Ward Gracen - rape - quid pro quo, post incident intimidation
Regina Hopper Blakely - "forced himself on her, biting, bruising her"
Kathleen Willey (WH) - sexual assault, intimidations, threats
Sandra Allen James (DC) - sexual assault
22 Year Old 1972 (Yale) - sexual assault
Kathy Bradshaw (AK) - sexual assault
Cristy Zercher - unwelcomed sexual advance, intimidations
Paula Jones (AR) - unwelcomed sexual advance, exposure,
bordering on sexual assault
Carolyn Moffet -unwelcomed sexual advance, exposure, bordering on sexual
assault
1974 student at University of Arkansas - unwelcomed physical contact
1978-1980 - seven complaints per Arkansas state troopers
Monica Lewinsky - quid pro quo, post incident character assault
Gennifer Flowers - quid pro quo, post incident character assault
Dolly Kyle Browning - post incident character assault
Sally Perdue - post incident threats
Betty Dalton - rebuffed his advances, married to one of his supporters
Denise Reeder - apologetic note scanned.

Clinton supporters have always tried to explained these accusations either as right wing plots or consensual relationships. They have smeared the victims and pressured them to be quiet sometimes using criminal tactics, thuggery etc. I actually think a lot more women will come forward if this is ever seriously discussed.

How does this effect Hillary Clinton? A number of witnesses have said that Hillary was deeply involved in the strategy of smearing Clinton victims as well as the smearing of Monica Lewinsky not a victim of sexual assault but a relationship a CEO in this day and age would have been fired for . Lewinsky was portrayed by the Cintonites as an unstable stalker until proof forced Bill finally to admit the truth. The Clintons are "two for one" as they are fond of saying.

The worst might be yet to come. Flight manifests show Bill Clinton visited the private island of billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein at least ten times. Several women have made accusations that they were kept there as sex slaves. Plenty of reasons Hillary Clinton should never be president - This is one.


WHY I HAVE NEVER BEEN A FAN OF GLORIA STEINEM


The asinine, ridiculous, offensive, and flat out stupid comments by Gloria Steinem that young women only like Bernie Sanders to be close to or impress young men reminds of why I have NEVER been a fan of Gloria Steinem in any way.

For one, Gloria Steinem represents an upper middle class wealthy Manhattanite’s view of feminism – Less concerned about pocket book issues, equal pay for equal work, the glass ceiling and more concerned with esoteric gender issues and private sexual matters (although she is anti-pornography and I would say anti-first amendment). Who and how many times you sleep with someone is not a movement for social justice. This playing down of economic concerns in favor of the decadence of NY and Hollywood liberals is a large factor I believe in why women deserted the Democratic Party to vote for Nixon and in the 1980’s even more so Reagan and George Bush the first.

But even worse is Gloria Steinem’s past as a CIA agent….You think I jest? Steinem herself has acknowledged that from the late 1950’s after finishing college to the early mid 60’s she worked for the Independent Research Service a CIA front group. Her job was to attend youth group convention/meetings in Europe (as well as get other young people to attend) and do three things 1.) Convince or recruit young people away from Marxism/socialism/anti-imperialism 2.) Spread disinformation 3.) Rat out those American students who attended.

That’s right, Gloria Steinem was an informer for the US government.

When she stopped working for the CIA is a matter of contention. A number of her fellow feminist leaders publicly criticized Steinem from moving away from blue collar working people issues which affect everyone to boutique wedge concerns and many of them have publicly accused of her(including Carol Hanisch, Kathie Sarachild, and the Red Stockings Group) of deliberately sabotaging the feminist movement in America as a CIA operation the way the FBI used paid moles to try to hurt the civil rights movement.

Steinem’s personal life is very interesting. A lot of her relationships with men have been with right wingers. She dated Henry Kissinger for awhile and had a long relationship with a man named J Stanley Pottinger who was an Assistant Attorney General in the Nixon Administration and is credited with stopping further investigation into both MLK’s assassination and the Washington assassination of ex- Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letier by the Pinochet government (A hit sanctioned by the CIA). He was also implicated in the IranContra scandal in the 80's. All of that is very curious.

Watching the ex-CIA operative Steinem at a Hillary Clinton rally side by side with Madeline Albright, foot soldier for the Israeli stranglehold on American politics and architect for the Iraq sanctions of the 90’s that led to the malnutrition and deaths of thousands of Iraqi children just makes me laugh at American liberalism which for years has either treated great men like Ralph Nader with condescension or outright attacked them while playing up pill popping degenerate Neo Con supply siders like JFK.



IN PRAISE OF RICH BUCKLER (AND DEATHLOK)


Notice the other day was the birthday of Rich Buckler who among other achievements did a great job drawing The Fantastic Four in the 70's when I was a kid. Think of Buckler's iconic run and feel sad how Marvel has ruined this flagship series all because of Hollywood dirty deals.

Buckler was also the original artist for the acclaimed and brilliant Panther's Rage series, the Black Panther's run in Jungle Action as well as the death of Jean DeWolff storyline in Spider Man.

However, Buckler's greatest creation was Deathlok the Demolisher. The original run in Astonishing Tales ( also in the 70's) ending with a sort of mini-apocalypse of New York City was epic and Deathlok kicked ass but one also felt sorry for him especially when he visited his wife who thought him long dead and had remarried. I think Spawn was very much influenced by Deathlok.


Love to see a Deathlok reboot that remains true to the character (The TV Agents of Shield version was crap).  

  

THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS AND ABSENCE OF SCALE


Two trends in online commenting/writing/arguing I wish would stop….

1.) Whenever I see the term “thought experiment”, I cringe because I know what is coming is something either racist or sexist or just hateful against a group of people in general. Case in point, Sam Harris’s “thought experiment” about genocide against the Palestinians by Israel or pick-up artist Rhoosh talking about legalizing rape if done on private property or anything Charlie Hebdo does. It is often the equivalent of saying “I am not a racist but” or “I am (something bad) but”. Either own your comments or don’t bother and calling something satire only makes it so if you have a clear target you are satirizing. Most written self- proclaimed “satire” I see these days is nothing of the sort.

2.) Absence of scale, comparing two events that are not even remotely the same level of seriousness or size or historical import reduces your argument. Some examples – All three Democratic candidates for president have referred to the 2008 recession as “a new great depression”. While the 2008 recession was awful especially for homeowners and millennials just out school looking for work, it came nowhere near to 30% of the country out of work, soup lines, brother can you spare a dime?. Talk to someone who lived through the 1930’s and you’ll hear some terrible stories. Another example – Comparing David Bowie sleeping with an underage groupie in the early 70’s to Bill Cosby drugging and raping scores of women over decades is nonsense. What Bowie did may be wrong but there’s no similarity there. I am guilty of this too – I have often compared Israel to Nazi Germany and while I do believe that Israel has engaged in widespread war crimes (such as in Lebanon in the 1980’s and Gaza numerous times), South Africa and Jim Crow era South are probably better comparisons for now although Israel actually exterminating the Palestinians is more than conceivable. Of course, calling someone a Nazi and Godwin’s Law are among the most obvious signs of a lack of scale. Hillary Clinton saying Vladimir Putin is like Hitler, Republicans saying Obama is Hitler etc.

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE MOST RECENT REPUBLICAN DEBATE


Specifically, four thoughts not standing in line like the foul-up at the beginning....That was hilarious LOL

1.) Rand Paul was really missed tonight – bomb this, bomb that, pre-emptive military strikes anywhere and everywhere, torture is good, keep Guantanamo Bay open blah blah blah

2.) Interesting the battle between the “moderates” – Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb!, Chris Christie. Christie really slapped down the twerp Rubio, that’s got to hurt but I think Kasich came off the best of that group as he was the most positive and the least scary or ideological (although his record is pretty far right wing).

3.)Another contentious moment – I thought Donald Trump came off really badly in the debate over Eminent Domain with Jeb!. The only time Jeb has ever landed a punch on Trump in the history of these debates especially when he pointed out Trump attempted to bully an old lady for her land.

4.) Last year, I thought Scott Walker was going to be the Republican nominee but Trump killed his campaign. I now feel Ted Cruz is filling the space Walker would have filled. I enjoy making fun of Ted Cruz as much as the next fella – He is extremely awkward and unnatural, everybody who has ever dealt with him (including members of his own family) think he’s a tremendous asshole, and he behaves like some sort of cloned hybrid of Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon but it’s a mistake to not take him seriously. He’s a canny campaigner and has got a well-organized, well-managed campaign. Most importantly, he’s got more money than anyone else other than Trump. He did a really good job tonight of presenting himself as a serious candidate.


SH*T THAT HILLARY CLINTON SAYS


Watching the most recent Democratic Debate and a few things caught my attention

1.) Hillary said we should not act on universal healthcare/single payer because the affordable health care act might be lost in the process. That’s such a bogus smoke and mirrors answer. Obamacare is at best transitional to real universal healthcare. Relying on expansion of insurance is not the permanent answer to the healthcare problem.

2.) Hillary said she could not be considered part of the establishment because she is a woman. That is deeply offensive to real fighters for gender equality. Hillary Clinton IS the establishment – A former Walmart lawyer and board member, Secretary of State, and the wife of a former president.

3.) Hillary puts a lot of emphasis on endorsements. Who cares? Endorsements are just another sign of being part of the establishment. Jeb Bush got more endorsements than anybody and he is going down in flames.

4.) Hillary asked if it could be shown where she ever changed a vote based on a political contribution, well she didn’t need to. She was always in the pocket of Wall Street all along and advanced or killed legislation that was beneficial or harmful to them. In addition, the connection between foreign policy during her time as Secretary of State and the Clinton Foundation is a conflict of interest and that’s putting it politely.

5.) Hillary compared herself to journalists and military officials in taking speaking fees and going on speaking tours. There is a huge difference – they are not elected or appointed officials, she is or was.

6.) Another dishonest Hillary answer – She’s against reinstating Glass/Stegall because it doesn’t go far enough. Like her healthcare answer, it is total BS. Her real goal is to help her buddies at Goldman-Sachs. If Clinton becomes president expect banking oversight to go backwards.

The sleaziness of Hillary is perfectly encapsulated by something that happened last week. Bernie Sanders gave a thoughtful interview where he said he’s not a follower of any organized religion and he does believe in a god but more as a representation of universal human consciousness. The day this story came out, Hillary had a campaign event at a huge Methodist church where she talked like a bible thumper about her firm belief in a god then later the same day she attended a pro-Israel event where she made a connection between God and Israel and Zionism. Now Hillary did not mention Sanders by name but the implication was there – Sanders is a dirty atheist and a traitor to his Jewish roots.

How do you tell when Hillary Clinton is lying? Her lips are moving.



Friday, February 5, 2016

TWO RECORDS - SKYLARKING BY XTC AND FUTURISTIC DRAGON BY T REX


This evening listening to SKYLARKING by XTC (of course) and FUTURISTIC DRAGON by T Rex....

I have a lot of friends who share my appreciation of XTC (and often exceed it) and for some of them SKYLARKING is their favorite XTC record. It’s also the only XTC record to appear on a lot of greatest album lists (including Rolling Stone top 100 records of the 1980's). As much as I like it, it’s never been my favorite by them as there are songs on it I don’t like (specifically Dying and Sacrificial Bonfire) as opposed to records like DRUMS AND WIRES/ENGLISH SETTLEMENT/NONSUCH/ORANGES AND LEMONS where I like every single song. Also I like the tune and the melody of Dear God and I agree with the message but it is far too strident – Talk about beating a dead (or born again) horse. I do like pretty much everything else – Season Cycle would easily rank in my top five favorite XTC tunes and Ballet for a Rainy Day, 1,000 Umbrellas, Earn Enough For Us, Another Satellite - Brilliant . I also like the idea of the record very much – a song cycle loosely connected by the seasons. The first time I heard it I immediately thought of two tunes from SOMETHING ELSE by The Kinks - Lazy Old Sun and End of the Season. Maybe Todd Rundgren shaved the edges off, I don’t know but it’s probably XTC’s most diverse record and I do for the most part still love it even now.

FUTURISTIC DRAGON is T Rex’s second to last record and it differs a bit from what came before with a slight almost disco undercurrent at times – the bass is more in front in some of the songs, strings are sharp and go in and out, a whiny synthesizer is sometimes present, background singers sound African -American. Marc Bolan has a little less effect in his voice and he is a bit more measured in his ridiculousness although still punctuates his musical points with chugging guitar. I think this is a pretty great record. The songs may not pack the sonic punch of ELECTRIC WARRIOR and THE SLIDER, less anthemic, more slyly pop but there are no bad songs here – Jupiter Liar, Chrome Sitar ,My Little Baby, Sensation Boulevard, Ride My Wheels, Casual Agent, Calling All Destroyers. The latest CD reissue adds London Boys and Life’s an Elevator which only make the record better.





ARREST HILLARY CLINTON AND PUT HER ON TRIAL


Putting aside my extreme personal dislike for all things Clinton and looking at this objectively , I now feel there is enough evidence to indict and to try Hillary Clinton in a court of law in relation to the E-mail scandal.

Why do I feel this way? The weekly email dump by the White House yesterday did not include 22 emails which Hillary shared that are classified “top secret”. In other words this is the smoking gun. For whatever reason laziness or seeking advice from sources who couldn’t get the proper classification such as Sydney Blumenthal or a criminal conspiracy or all three, she broke the law. Cabinet members swear an oath to uphold the office and also must sign a number of binding legal agreements especially as it pertains to classified documents. Failure to comply in your position once you have done this is breaking the law.

A Hillary spokesman today tried to call this “overclassification” and went on to attack the Obama administration. That’s just silly! They say Hillary and Obama don’t like each other but what would be the motivation for him damaging her campaign at this point?

In addition, Hillary has lied about this. Last March for example she said publicly that she had never shared any top secret information through e-mail.

I believe the Clintons have a long history of believing laws are for little people, they don’t apply to them. Their behavior is almost monarchical. Whether it’s is the Clinton presidential campaigns taking laundered money from the Chinese government in the 1990’s, Bill’s long history of sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape, Hillary’s involvement in coups in Honduras and the Ukraine or the unethical relationship between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department, the Clintons feel they are above the law. I could give you a 100 other examples.

Now I don’t know enough about the law to know what the punishment should be in a case like this whether it is just a fine or actual jail time, but I do know that if the USA finds itself in a situation where the two choices in a rigged system are Hilary and Donald Trump than “the Great American Experiment” might as well curl up and die.




Sunday, January 24, 2016

WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A PLACE TO LIVE


One type of article I see repeated online all the time is the ten best places in the world to live or something along those lines. These types of articles make very good clickbait. Hell, I click on them myself and they almost always feature the same countries – Northern European nations (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and Switzerland with the prime factors being universal healthcare and education and gun control (although in the case of Switzerland it’s more like ammunition control). I can’t argue with any of these things, I support all of them but as a 50 year old childless man there are far more important details in selecting a country to live in.

Again, these are the things that are important to me. This is what I look for. Others likely feel different.

1.) I hate cold weather and snow. To me, the ideal place to live should have summer twelve months out of the year. I quite like powerful but brief tropical rain storms but I hate drizzle with pissing showers like an old man with a weak bladder.

2.) I like ethnic and cultural diversity. I like a multi-racial society. I like hearing a lot of different languages spoken and seeing a lot of cultures on display. A homogenous population isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s far less interesting and eventually you’ll have bigotry and chauvinism of some sort.

3.) Democracy is all well and good but more important is economic democracy. How do I measure this? Not by whether I can cast a meaningless vote (people can vote in Afghanistan and Iraq and it is symbolic only) but is it possible for me to start a business, better myself or is the system rigged or corrupt. Is there an entrepreneurial spirit present? Does the government allow small business to flourish? Does corruption and overregulation get in the way of this?

4.) Singapore is an okay place. I have been there number of times but I would never want to live there. A place where they give you a ticket for not flushing a public toilet or allowing standing water on your balcony is a society with too much involvement in the lives of its citizens. I want government present and functioning but not monitoring what I do or breathing down my neck. If a police car drives through your neighborhood every ten minutes, don’t pat yourself on the back for living in a country like that, instead ask the question why it is necessary for a police car to drive through your neighborhood every ten minutes.

5.) Sooner or later the way in which a country conducts itself in the world will directly affect life in that country. A violent imperialistic nation will eventually behave the same way at home. For example, I believe there is a direct connection between US actions abroad and the rise of a militarized out of control police force. “The chickens coming home to roost” as Malcolm X said. Oswald Spengler in DECLINE OF THE WEST also pointed to the link between an overextended foreign empire and the loss of liberty domestically as a sign of the decline of a civilization.

6.) Do the people of a country have the right balance between materialism and simpler ways of living? Do they work like dogs to acquire meaningless junk and how does society at large view the materialist mindset? America is so huge and overwhelming, how much influence does American type materialism have on your country of choice?

7.) Also American culture is also big and overwhelming and omnipresent. Do the citizens of a country still treasure their own traditions and ignore American dysfunctional pop culture? Are family ties still important? How do people behave in public do they have loud hissy fits if they don’t get their way or more controlled? Are the citizens of the country hedonistic, behaving like perpetual adolescents or do they sometime subvert their own needs for others? What is the divorce rate? Drug/alcohol/teen pregnancy etc.? While bad driving and not being able to stand in line properly drives me nuts I know this is because I am an American. More importantly how do people treat each other especially the ones they love? Spengler in DECLINE also noted the rise of a junk valueless culture as another sign of the death spiral of a civilization.

8.) I am an old happily married guy but if I was single that would be a consideration too. It’s a generalization to say this I realize but I prefer Asian women to Western women – On one hand, more conservative and less dysfunctional but on the other hand even though it is contradictory also more free of mind and spirit, less jaded, not necessarily more intelligent but more knowledgeable of the world and definitely more curious about it. I also like a society that has plenty of career and educational opportunities for women.

9.) Is the system of justice fair? Is it possible to get a fair trial? Are those accused treated the same despite differences in financial status and race/religion? Is punishment draconian or equal to the crime committed?

10.) I like the ocean, swimming in the ocean, the smell of the ocean, being near the ocean even though these days I don’t go to the beach all that often. I do like having the ability to go to the ocean if I want. I would not want to live somewhere that is landlocked. I don’t have to live in nature but I like being near nature say half an hour to an hour away from forest or jungle.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A FEW THOUGHTS ON HEROES REBORN AND RE-EVALUATING HEROES


Just finished watching HEROES REBORN and I thought overall it was a worthy continuation of the Heroes storyline. 

First the negatives – The various time travel plot elements got too convoluted and hard to follow.  At one point, when Hiro and Mama Petrelli went back to the past, I just kind of gave up.  Having Erica Kravid’s hatred of evo’s be a result of her sexual abuse by one as a teenager was a bit jarring and out of tune with usual heroes episodes which are violent but in a cartoonish way.  It does make perfect sense though.     

The positives – I really liked some of the new characters especially Katana Girl and Wreckless Ren which mirrored the story of Pinocchio.  The last scene between the real Katana Girl and Ren was perfect.   I liked the outright filching of plot ideas from the comic book story arcs Days of Future Passed and Kingdom Come as well as The Watchmen.  While Noah Bennett was integral to the Heroes series, I always viewed him as a villain and I was happy to see his death even if it seemed rushed and not dramatic enough.  Matt Parkman, pathetic weak cuckold, was always my least favorite character on Heroes and his decent into villainy as well as his ignominious fate made perfect sense.

Too bad there won’t be another season based around Claire’s babydaddy.  I hoped it would be Sylar although I found it interesting the person who left the note drank a strawberry milkshake in the ice cream parlor where Tommy works.  Samuel, the villain from season four, also liked strawberry milkshakes but he’s a bit old….Maybe Claire’s babbydaddy is his son?    

  
I am not sure if Fox is doing this in other countries but in Southeast Asia, in conjunction with the new Heroes series, they have been repeating all four seasons of the original HEROES show. I’ve seen every episode before but a while ago so I am rewatching to see if my opinion has changed (Something I also plan to do with BREAKING BAD when I get some time).

Well I still think the first season is one of the greatest single seasons of any TV show – complex, character driven but plenty of superhero action, tragedy, and twists, the closest a TV show has ever come to copying the multi-part narrative story arc flow of comic books. 


However, I have softened a bit on the other seasons – They are better than I remember. In particular, the first part of Season Three the VILLAINS storyline is superb with the always brilliant Robert Forster as a great megalomaniac type. Even the fourth season, my least favorite, seems okay now, perhaps too padded out and I still think the carnival of superhumans is not a strong enough threat to carry a whole season but I liked the Sylar/Peter/Nathan resolution (I think people who criticized that missed the point that Sylar is not really Sylar anymore rather a Nathan/Sylar combo).

In the end, what makes HEROES great is/was the characters – They are really well drawn, with great backstories and many facets to their personality. It’s not that big a genre but the best superhero TV show of all time IMO.










A FEW THOUGHTS ON DAVID BOWIE


It has taken me awhile to put down what I wanted to say about David Bowie.  The main reason  being what I write sounds slightly negative even though I was fan of many of his records.

For starters, I think David Bowie was a great popularizer, a great synthesizer of existing musical trends that were underground.  Glam started with T Rex and both Marc Bolan and Roxy Music were more interesting musically and more to my preference, meant more to me personally but it was Bowie that made it big internationally.  The German music scene was vibrant and thrilling in the mid 70’s and Bowie took what he wanted from it to make classic music.

That is not to say Bowie did not make music that was interesting or innovative or powerful in its own way.  He wasn’t Nirvana pushed into milking an alternative scene whoring it out with dull commercialized tunes.  Bowie was at his best musically when he was in transition from one musical identity to another, shifting scenes.  My favorite album (and song) is an example of this - STATION TO STATION.  The title track is powerful, complex.  I’m a sucker for a song that changes melodies halfway throughout.  The intro is amazing – one of the best of all time.  Other favorite Bowie albums – HUNKY DORY, EARTHLING, SCARY MONSTERS, HEROES.  I think everything he did up to the early 1980’s is great or near great.  I am NOT a fan at all of the LET’S DANCE era which always seemed like a pathetic sell-out – Bowie now copying those who copied him.  However I think some of his 90’s – early 2000’s records were also quite good.

There are a lot of things Bowie was famous for but one thing that is hardly mentioned is songwriting. I was listening to random Bowie songs last night and couldn’t recall who wrote what so checked the credits. Most if not all of his best songs during arguably his best period 1970 to 1980 were written by him. Most of the records he released during this period are 70% to 80% sole Bowie compositions not to mention songs he wrote for other artists such as All the Young Dudes (always a favorite of mine). When you consider the quality of the songs he was producing, that’s quite amazing!

Bowie also meant a lot as the central figure in a very large cult of fans.  On ZIGGY STARDUST in particular on songs like Rock and Roll Suicide (“You are not alone”) Bowie forged a relationship with his audience, kind of like “I am one of you”. I’ve seen a lot of people say that they felt like misfits until Bowie first appeared (separated by gender/sexuality, lack of interest in a material society or even just having an open mind) and they finally found someone they could connect to.  I am not trying to turn this into bashing America or the West in general but that kind of aloneness, opulence everywhere, too much freedom but no skills or resources to grab it is even more frustrating I imagine than being in a much more conservative country. I think Morrissey’s fans have similar but even more intense feelings (I should know – I am one ).

I’ve recently read a lot of people calling Bowie post-mortem The Beatles of the 70’s.  In the 70’s he made one great record after anther although the music sometimes didn’t necessarily change as much as his appearance.  He was constantly growing, trying to expand his musical boundaries.

So RIP David Bowie....Sad to say I don’t think we’ll see someone of his musical curiosity and desire to do different things again.  The economy as it relates to music has totally changed.  Depressing but at least we have his records.